by Morinville News Staff
The NDP chose New Year’s Day, the first day of their carbon levy increase, to remind Albertans that their made-in-Alberta Climate Leadership Plan was designed to diversify the economy, create jobs and reduce emissions.
But the UCP chose the same day to tell Albertans the 50 per cent increase is a job-killing carbon tax that will increase the cost of everything from home heating to groceries.
The carbon levy increases from $20 per tonne to $30 tonne of carbon dioxide emissions Jan. 1.
With the increase, the province says the revenue from the levy will continue to be invested in Alberta through green infrastructure, energy efficiency, renewable energy, bioenergy and innovation.
Levy monies were used for current, and future LRT lines in both Calgary and Edmonton in 2017, and rebates on energy-efficient products, including programmable thermostats, and home improvements, including tankless water heaters, and solar installations saved Albertans another $300 million, the government said.
“Our government is committed to leading policy development, not taking policy direction from Ottawa,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister responsible for the Climate Change Office. “Our made-in-Alberta Climate Leadership Plan works for Albertans and Alberta’s economy. Since 2015, our plan has supported mortgage-paying jobs, built an entirely new and long overdue energy efficiency industry, and put a meaningful dent in emissions reductions. We will continue to protect Alberta’s health, wealth and growth in 2018.”
However, UCP Leader Jason Kenney said the levy has already killed thousands of good-paying jobs, putting hardworking Alberta entrepreneurs out of business, and making life more expensive families across the province.
“Today, despite never having mentioned a carbon tax during the 2015 election, the NDP digs even deeper into the pockets of everyday Albertans,” Kenney said. “The carbon tax is all economic pain with no environmental gain. As the architect of the NDP’s carbon tax plan himself admitted, the tax drives emissions to jurisdictions that do not have a carbon tax. Albertans understand this: despite the Government spending millions of tax dollars trying to buy support for their carbon tax, polls consistently show high disapproval for the NDP’s plan.”
The government maintains its use of carbon levy revenues are for the provincial good, and has also recently announced $1.4 billion for Climate Leadership Plan projects, including $440 million for oil sands innovation, $225 million for research into new technologies that reduce emissions, and $240 million for industrial energy efficiency projects that would help companies save money while upgrading equipment or facilities to lower energy use. Additionally, $63 million in grants will go to bioenergy projects, including biodiesel and ethanol, and $400 million will be provided in loan guarantees to support investment in efficiency and renewable energy.
To help offset the costs of the carbon levy, the government says it will increase rebates for low- and middle-income Albertans are also increasing this year, something they say 60 per cent of households will receive.
A single adult earning up to $47,500 per year will receive a rebate of $300, a couple earning up to $95,000 per year will receive a rebate of $450, and a couple with two children earning up to $95,000 per year will receive a rebate of $540.
Parents that qualify for the rebate will receive up to an additional $45 per child (to a maximum of four).
Rebates are automatic for those who have filed their 2016 and subsequent tax returns.